Can we choose happiness? Our friend Celine Wallace weighs in on how our thoughts and actions can influence our mood.
Choosing Happiness is an interesting concept but with International Happiness day upon us it’s a question that seems appropriate to ask, with the question being ‘Do we wake up happy or is happiness something we have to cultivate?’
The fact we even have a day dubbed ‘International Happiness Day’ is something that can cause celebration or concern, with the international day streaming from a United Nations campaign to call more happiness into action in our daily lives. That being said if we have a day that is calling happiness into action, then surely choosing happiness is an option, so why do we only consciously choose it one day of the year?
Many people believe that you’re either born happy or you’re not. I truly believe happiness is a choice that you have the ability to create real and lasting happiness for yourself, but the most vital element to being happy is choice. You have to choose to be happy.
At one of my women’s wellness events recently I did a happiness experiment, which I encourage you to try. Start by walking around avoiding people’s eye contact, imagining everyone is in your way, and everything is an obstacle. Walk around in this state with this mentality for a couple of minutes and start to notice the subtle shift in your energy. Do you feel heavier or lighter? Are you happier or has this action made your mood more aggravated?
Now, let’s reset and start to walk around more slowly aiming to be more present, start to smile and observe things around you with the knowledge that all of these things you may never see again since everything is temporary. Sit with this feeling of gratitude for the present moment and then observe how you feel. More often than not I bet you feel lighter, more relaxed, maybe, even happier.
In both of these situations you have cultivated your mood and therefore, the experience you’re having. They say the experiencer is the experience. Why? Because two people can be in the same place, same circumstances, same time, but as above, the experiencer has decided on the experience they want to have. In life you will find that you will do this either consciously or subconsciously, but the more you begin to consciously become aware of your patterns and behavior the more you can begin to change them and live an intention filled life.
It’s the same when you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing you do after you open your eyes? Is it rolling over to check your phone and moan about all the emails you have to send, or do you pause, smile and acknowledge a new 24hrs with a new day of opportunities? They say if you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, then you are already richer than 75% of the world, but often we get so busy with the daily stresses of life we forget the big picture.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying happiness is something that can be obtained every minute and that you will never experience sadness. Life is naturally a course of highs and lows, but it is something we can continually choose to work towards in the midst of adversity. In my experience over the years I’ve found times of struggle have led to me feeling stronger, but that’s only if we choose to use moments of hardship as a catalyst for change and lead us to take action in our lives. People facing trauma often describe their experience as a pivotal point for profound change and transformation, leading into ‘’post-traumatic growth’’. Have you experienced that? When something happens in your life and you think it’s the end of the world, but you’ve picked yourself up, dusted yourself off and looked back a year later and can’t believe how that ‘experience’ has propelled you to make a change to where you are now?
So can you choose happiness? Yes! Does happiness take work? Yes! It takes steady practice and it’s not easy, but it is something you can work towards. I’m also not saying ignore the issues we face in life either, but think about what works well for you in life – know what satisfies you – do what will give you ultimate pleasure and practice it.
We all want to be happy. Why not make happiness a daily ritual? Choose happiness. Live it! Happy International Happiness Day and beyond!